Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,


I asked a question during lecture last night when I got lost, it was a breakthrough. This might not seem like a big deal but trust me, I'm normally waaaay too lost during class to ask questions. I mean, you ever get a nagging feeling like you've made a horrible mistake? that's how I feel every day in grad school. It's certainly how I felt last semester in probability, I hated that class, I stopped understanding it around the second week and never caught up. Basically every lecture went like this: I'd sit down. The professor would start talking. I'd get lost. I'd start thinking about what I'd be eating for dinner that night, or what I'd wear tomorrow, or how I'd get our meetings to go faster at work. After ten minutes of that I was definitely lost, to the point that I couldn't possibly recover, and it was all sort of a blur after that.

so imagine how disappointed I was when I sign up for two classes this semester, video processing and information theory, and they're both like... probability II. information theory is even taught by the same professor, who moves at the speed of light and is insane enough to strictly forbid yawning in class. After last semester I stopped yawning entirely because I'm just way too conscious of it now. And my video processing professor is assuming that we paid attention in probability, and have a deeply ingrained knowledge of the difference between uncorrelated and independent random variables. This is where that nagging feeling comes from.

But I made a resolution to do better this semester, try harder, review more, spend more hours (if that's even possible) studying, and that's what I've been doing... going through the book, working the terrible proofs. Because at this level the textbooks kind of stop working practical examples and just have proofs everywhere, and by working those you're supposed to have this grand understanding of the world. Okay, if they say so. Maybe this semester can be different, despite the fact that I'm lacking in prequisite knowledge. I have to say I enjoy these topics a lot more even though they're just more probability. They're a tiny bit more applied. Tiny bit.

In the meantime, here's another question I've been pondering: as I've gotten to the higher levels, I've started feeling like I'm in a math class all the time. I thought I did the math thing already? In video processing we've been learning about compression algorithms, and it's actually pretty interesting but at one point I had to ask the professor who came up with these things, engineers or computer scientists, and he named a bunch of mathematicians. Okay so what the hell are we engineers for? Why are the grad schools even divided? I mean, in first grade we really only had reading and math. I'm thinking grad school should be like that... "you can get a bachelor's in anything, but for your masters you have to chose either reading or math". Is it just me or is there no real difference anymore between a physicist, a computer scientist and an engineer?
Tags: graduate school
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